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Historic Auburn-Gresham Building Torn Down After Partial Collapse

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A historic building in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood was torn down overnight, after its upper story came crashing to the ground and left four people injured.

The three-story City of Chicago-owned building at 79th and Halsted streets collapsed along the roofline around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, sending the façade tumbling onto the pavement below.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller reports


Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff said four people were taken to area hospitals in serious condition. Their injuries were not life-threatening.

Photos from the scene showed the commercial and office building standing with its roof crumbled off, and piles of bricks on the ground. Among the bricks and heavy terracotta was the scaffolding that surrounded the building, leaving sheets of corrugated metal littering the sidewalk.

The landmark building was constructed in the 1880s. Once a jewel of the neighborhood, it had been vacant for the past 20 years.

Hoff said the recent weather conditions and the age of the building played a role in the collapse, which he said gave way after years of neglect.

"When you see a tree growing through the roof of a building, that means the roof structure is deteriorated."

Crews started using a crane to bring large pieces of the upper floors down and demolish the building Tuesday night. They were working cautiously around a utility pole that stands close by.

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